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Around the NFC South: Smith, Lucas together again

8/17/2008

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas.

Here's a quick look (and some translation) at the coverage in the local papers this morning.

FALCONS

In limited action, Michael Turner rushed for more yards last night than any Atlanta runner did in any of the 16 games last season. Get ready to see a lot of Turner and consider drafting him on your fantasy football teams because he may be the only highlight of the Atlanta offense. Rookie quarterback Matt Ryan didn't look as good in his second preseason game as he did in his first. That may prompt the Falcons to proceed cautiously with Ryan and open the season with Chris Redman as the starter.

PANTHERS

Steve Smith and Ken Lucas were back on the practice field together for the first time since the receiver punched the cornerback on the sideline Aug. 1. Smith, who will serve a two game suspension for the incident, was on his best behavior. There's been talk about how all this could divide the locker room, but I don't see that happening. Lucas and Smith are both respected because of their abilities, but neither has a huge presence in the locker room because they're both loners. As long as Smith and Lucas can move forward, the rest of the team will have no problem leaving the incident behind.

SAINTS

Defensive tackle Anthony "Booger'' McFarland will be in for a visit today. This is more exploratory than anything. The Saints want to see how McFarland is recovering from a torn patellar tendon. The loss of Hollis Thomas for at least two months has the Saints considering options, but they're still pretty deep at defensive tackle. If McFarland's anywhere close to healthy, though, this is a possibility. It probably would go over well with the fans because McFarland played at LSU and is a native of Winnsboro, La.

The Saints got running back Deuce McAllister back on the field against the Texans and the offense looked great. Problem was the defense looked just like it did last year.


BUCCANEERS


Here's a statement we haven't heard in years. The Bucs think their receiving corps could be a strength.

It still is not known if former Tampa Bay safety John Lynch will get a chance to play against his old team tonight. But Lynch, who just signed with the Patriots, said he'd love that opportunity. Lynch remains a fan favorite in Tampa, even though he publicly ripped general manager Bruce Allen after leaving the Bucs.